The richer we are and the more we consume, the more self-centred and careless of the lives of others we appear to become. Often we prefer to ignore the fact that there are still close-knit groups of people living outside mainstream society, according to their own traditions, just as they did centuries ago. Climate change and modern encroachments have caused some of their populations to reduce dramatilcy, but for now these 10 tribes are still here.
1. The Kayapo
The Kayapo are Brazilian tribe that lives along the Xingu River in 44 separate villages linked by barely visible trails. They call themselves Mebengokre, which means “people of the big water.” They live in villages made of dozen or so huts. One hut is located in the middle of their village. Only men can enter that house. There they talk about issues important for the community. The biggest Kayapo village is Gorotire. Its population is quite wealthy because they have concessions over gold mines located there. Smaller and not so wealthy village populated by the Kayapo people is Kapot. The Kayapo people believe that their ancestors learned social skills from insects like bees. That is why mothers and children paint each other’s bodies with patterns that are similar to animal or insect markings. They believe that when painted they can better communicate with the Spirit that exists everywhere – in the forest, in the river etc.
2. The Kalash
Situated in the Pakistani mountains, bordering the Taliban-controlled region of Afghanistan, it is the most unusual tribe of white, European-looking people known as the Kalash. With a population of just over 3,000, the largest minority group in Pakistan, they are an oasis of color and warmth in stark contrast to the seemingly inhospitable land that surrounds them. Despite their isolation, or perhaps because of it, the Kalash people are welcoming to Western visitors.
3. The Cahuilla
While Southern California is typically associated with Hollywood, surfers, traffic, and wannabe actors, nestled within the region are nine Native American reservations inhabited by the ancient Cahuilla people. They have lived in and near the Coachella Valley for over 3,000 years and are believed to have settled there when the prehistoric Lake Cahuilla was still in existence. Cahuilla history in stories and songs tells how the Cahuilla were given these lands as their homeland since the beginning of time by their Creator. The Cahuilla reservation of approximately 20,000 acres of Trust Land was established in 1875 and is located near Anza, California in what is now western Riverside County.
4. The Spinifex
The Spinifex, or Pila Nguru, are an Aboriginal people who have lived in the Great Victoria Desert—one of the harshest inhabitable climates— at least 15 000 years. Even after the Europeans settled in Australia, this tribe was mostly left alone, since they occupied such a dry, inhospitable environment. For the Spinifex People this place is anything but remote. They sense every bristle and fold of the land as if it were their own skin. In its fickle way the desert offers food, water and shelter. More importantly, it thrives with spiritual knowledge and ancestral law. These people haven’t endured in spite of their isolation but because of it.
5. The Batak
The Batak tribe, which researchers believe arrived in the Philippines about 50,000 years ago as the first humans to cross the land bridge from mainland Asia to the archipelago. Now there are just several hundred of them left in the country and they face several threats to their existence.Their community is in the jungles in the northern part of the island of Palawan. Typical of Negritos, the Batak are small in stature and have kinky, woolly hair. Traditionally, the women wear sarongs, while the men cover themselves with nothing but a G-string and possibly feathers or jewelry. The whole community works together to hunt and gather, and they often celebrate by dancing to the beats of their homemade drums. Overall, they are a shy, peaceful people who prefer to hide deep in the jungle rather than deal with confrontation from outsiders.
6. The Andamanese
The Andamanese are also classified as Negritos, but because of their extremely short stature—adult men are shorter than 150 centimeters (4’11”) tall—they are usually referred to as pygmies. Genetic evidence hints at a Negrito presence on the Andaman Islands going back more than 30,000 years, and possibly reaching as far back as 60,000 years. It is thought that the surviving Negritos are a remnant population representing an early ( perhaps the earliest ) migration of modern Homo Sapiens out of Africa .
7. The Piraha
Although there are many small, primitive tribes sprinkled throughout Brazil and the Amazon, the Piraha are especially fascinating because they have a culture and language unlike any other people on the planet. While some might call this language simplistic, these idiosyncrasies are the result of the Piraha’s values, which include living in the moment. Furthermore, because they live entirely communally, they have no need to count or ration supplies. A lot of unnecessary language is eliminated when you have no history, don’t have to keep track of anything, and only trust what you can see.
8. The People Of Takuu Atoll
The Takuu group of atolls, also known as the Mortlock Islands, is a place so remote that it could easily be forgotten — and for centuries it was. The population of around 400 people of Polynesian origin is living on a small atoll group (1.4 km squared) situated some 250 km northeast of the Island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. Islanders have the first-hand experience of the great flood events depicted in the Book of Genesis. Their world will soon be swallowed by water. The entire atoll lies on average one meter above the high tide mark. Rising sea levels, caused either by global warming or the movement of tectonic plates, threaten the very existence of these islands formed by a coral reef. Even if the land itself persists physically for a relatively prolonged period of time, it will lose the ability to sustain life. Gardens, situated on the largest island of Takuu, are becoming salty, which cuts down the production of corps, and a ceremonial giant taro plant, which plays an important role in communal ceremonies. The situation is still not alarming, but the Takuu society is in crisis.
9. The Dukha
Most of us think of reindeer as fanciful creatures that pull Santa’s sleigh, but for the Dukha, they are necessary for survival. The Dukha are Mongolia’s last group of nomadic reindeer herders with a history dating back to the Tang dynasty. The nomadic tribe has lived in the region for centuries. During that time, they have developed a relationship with wild animals that is utterly amazing. Through their own brand of animal husbandry, the Dukha people have learned to use reindeer as a means of transportation over the treacherous terrain they call home.
10. The El Molo
El Molo people (also known as Gurapau “people of the lake” according to the auto-ethnonym) are Cushitic, smallest and near extinct ethnic group found in Kenya. With a population of less than 400 people, and decreasing, the El Molo is probably Africa`s smallest ethnic group. They are the most skillful-hardy fishermen amongst the mostly semi- nomadic pastoral tribes around Lake Turkana in Loiyangalani Division of Marsabit District. Unlike their neighbours, the El Molo are not pastoralists and rarely eat meat. Among the Maasai, El Molo loosely means “those who make a living from other sources other than cattle”. The Samburu identify them with ﬁsh from the phrase loo molo onsikirri, which means “the people who eat ﬁsh.” On top of numerous environmental hazards, the El Molo suffer from cholera outbreaks every few years, which wipe out most of their very old and young citizens. Considering that the average El Molo life expectancy is only 30–45 years, that doesn’t leave many people to grow the population. Their numbers are down to about 200, and anthropologists estimate only about 40 of those are “pure” El Molo.
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